Let me start by saying, the odds of this trade happening is very low. The Jets wouldn’t move on from who they believe to be their franchise quarterback, especially to a division rival. That doesn’t mean we can’t break down a hypothetical trade though, so let’s dive in.
Let me set the hypothetical stage I’ve conjured up in my head. It is week six and both teams are off to a terrible start. The Patriots are going into their bye week after an embarrassing loss to the Broncos at Gillette stadium the week before. The Jets are heading to Los Angeles to play the Chargers after losing to the Cardinals at home. Bill Belichick has come to realize Stidham is not the future of the franchise, and he has to make a move. Being the savy GM he is, Belichick calls up Jets GM Joe Douglas and makes an offer Douglas can’t refuse. Reigning DPOY Stephon Gilmore, a 2021 first and third round pick for Sam Darnold. In typical Belichick fashion, he moves off a star player a year early rather than a year late.
Why this makes sense for the Patriots
The Patriots get former top five pick Sam Darnold. Darnold was most analysts top ranked QB in the 2018 class. Darnold hasn’t lived up to expectations so far, but it is hardly his fault. The Jets have failed to surround him with any talent. The offensive line is abysmal, Darnold has to run for his life almost every play. Outside of Robby Anderson, who they let walk this offseason, he has no legitimate threat to throw to. Adam Gase, who will probably be gone after this season, has done a terrible job with Darnold’s development. Knowing he has the worst offensive line in the league, he consistently cause deep pass plays that require a 3-5 step drop, putting Darnold under consistent duress.
Now I’m not saying Darnold is perfect, he has a lot to work on. He needs to get better at making reads (which more time in the pocket could help) and his ball location needs significant improvement. I think coming to New England and having a solid offensive line and young receivers to develop with, Darnold has a much better chance at succeeding. Darnold has the potential to develop into one of the top QB’s in the league for the next 10-15 years, he’s only 23 years old. Would moving off a 30 year old corner with a huge cap hit be worth that? I think so.
Why this makes sense for the Jets
The Jets are years away from being anything that can resemble a contender. They drafted Meckhi Beckton, but you still need to upgrade the other four offensive lineman. They need threats on the perimeter, will likely have to replace Le’Veon Bell in the next few years. On the other side of the ball, you have Quinnen Williams, CJ Mosley and Jamal Adams, that’s it. And the first two come with question marks. Williams did not impress his rookie season, and Mosley is an aging, often injured linebacker.
In steps Stephon Gilmore, a guy who can bring life to a pitiful cornerback group. He is without a doubt the best corner in the game right now, and has the ability to take away half the field. He also brings the leadership this young defense needs. The Jets have the cap room to take on Gilmore’s, and he would automatically become one of the best players on the roster.
Like I said to begin with, the likelihood of this trade happening is slim to none. However it’s always fun to speculate and put yourself in the GM chair. This would be a blockbuster trade that would change the landscape of the league for years to come, and solve an issue for both teams.
Featured photo courtesy of newyorkjets.com and patriots.com
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